Guide Illicit antiquities : the theft of culture and the extinction of archaeology

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Contents Search. Looting and Vandalism Cultural Heritage Management. How to cite.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access. Balter, M. University suppresses report on provenance of Iraqi antiquities. Science Google Scholar. The Sevso treasure, a private exhibition. London: Bonhams. Bottoni, A. I marmi dipinti di Ascoli Satriano.

Brodie, N. Annual Review of Anthropology Illicit antiquities, the theft of culture and the extinction of archaeology. This is an especially important point when considering looting activity in source countries ravaged by war or political distress. Since most criminal activities are shaped by local socio-economic and cultural contexts, national legislation should be specifically, albeit very carefully, tailored to fit local situations p.

In fact, popular media have been especially instrumental in perpetuating this stereotypical mafia-type organized crime concept within the context of antiquities. RAT proposes that crime arises through the conjunction of three fundamental components: 1 — a suitable target ; 2 — a motivated offender ; and 3 — the absence of capable guardianship.

In the case of the illicit antiquities market, a suitable target can be understood to be antiquities e. According to Felson :7 , organized crime is dependent upon poorly managed societies and necessitates recurrent local social settings where criminals can meet to conduct business or recruit other criminals p. Therefore, it is important to focus on events, the settings they occur within, and their sequences; in this way, the structure and continuity of criminal activities, whether loosely or tightly organized, can be studied by looking at the settings where offenders converge p.

Offender participation is not stable because actors involved in criminal processes are not necessarily static fixtures; relationships between contacts at any point in the process sometimes break down due to arrests, lack of trust, et al. It is for this reason that Felson suggests focusing on the settings where actors converge, as opposed to focusing on the actors themselves, if one wishes to understand the nature of organized crime p. Moreover, such a model is useful for microscopic analysis of criminal connections and activities at different stages throughout the trade.

The four-stage progression model provides a fundamental framework for understanding the basic sequences of progression that occur within the illicit antiquities market from source to demand end. Its importance is in this provision of a framework, and the categories are filled in the model presented here for illustrative purposes only rather than attempting an exhaustive exposition of the roles and settings in the market, which is not the aim of this paper. The model is thus a simple framework with at least three potential implications. First, the model helps to articulate the processes, events, settings, and actors involved in each of the four stages.

Second, the data retrieved from analyzing each of the four stages separately could elucidate the level and extent of organized criminal dynamics taking place within each stage, filling in the knowledge gaps on how such cooperation takes place from one stage to the next. Clearly, the model allows for more focus on the market itself as both organized and criminal, which is independent of whether the individuals involved themselves could be considered both organized and criminal Proulx ; Mackenzie Therefore, if the market is itself both criminal and organized, then the individuals participating in each stage of the progression from source to market are also criminal and organized to some degree however loosely or tightly structured Paoli ;67— In light of the progression-based model described above, and provided that antiquities trafficking is understood as a market that is in itself both organized and criminal, the UN Convention on Transnational Organized Crime UN arguably offers some of the most significant enforcement tools to combat the trafficking of illicit antiquities.

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The convention tried to standardize definitions of organized crime, criminalization of activities, and guidelines for international cooperation and legal assistance. Dealers, by virtue of their willingness to participate in the selling of illicit antiquities, take advantage of open borders through their willingness to cooperate and purchase items from actors who are physically taking advantage of open borders , and the supply of their commodities rely explicitly upon the weaknesses of political and economic infrastructure in source countries.

In their search for tantalizing ancient artifacts, dealers and collectors are now faced with an interesting dilemma; that is, in their quest to admire and collect rare pieces of human history they are at the same time unwittingly — and sometimes knowingly — destroying it through criminal and divisive means at an unconscionable and alarming rate.

The illicit antiquities trade is a transnational market connecting supply and demand settings and events, via transit, trade and facilitation mechanisms.

Looting and Vandalism (Cultural Heritage Management) | SpringerLink

Therefore, in order to stop the devastation of archaeological landscapes, and to stop the economic exploitation of impoverished people in struggling societies hard-hit by the ravages of conflict or political distress, future legislation and policy-making should begin by considering the routine activities of the market in terms of these analytical categories. The author is very grateful for the support provided by the European Research Council by way of grant funding under FP7. The conference was attended by experts from 27 different countries; the proceedings have been published and the information can be found in the References section of this paper.

In fact, regulatory controls are low across the entire spectrum of the trade; archaeological site security is relatively non-existent and, more importantly, most countries do not require antiquities dealers to be licensed Mackenzie — National Center for Biotechnology Information , U.

Trends in Organized Crime. Trends Organ Crime. Published online Jan Jessica Dietzler.

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Author information Copyright and License information Disclaimer. Corresponding author. Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author s and the source are credited. Keywords: Organized crime, Transnational crime, Criminal markets, Illicit antiquities, Antiquities trafficking, Routine activity theory.


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Introduction The last several years of scholarship on the illicit antiquities trade have brought to light a great deal of information about the actors, processes, and realities of the transnational exploitation of illicitly acquired archaeological antiquities.

Significance and scale of the problem The scope and significance of the illicit antiquities trade is global, underreported, publicly misunderstood, and has become a crisis of epic proportions with regard to the quality and quantity of our knowledge of human history Bowman —; Brodie and Renfrew ; Brodie and Tubb ; Brodie ; Brodie et al.

Scale: official estimates Despite the illegality of trafficking and selling illicitly acquired archaeological materials, the illicit antiquities trade remains a lucrative and thriving business. Table 1 Four-stage progression model.

Open in a separate window. Acknowledgments The author is very grateful for the support provided by the European Research Council by way of grant funding under FP7. References Abadinski H Organized crime, 3rd edn. Stopping this awful business: the illicit traffic in antiquities examined as a criminal market. Art Antiq Law.

Illicit Antiquities

Contents Search. Looting and Vandalism Cultural Heritage Management. How to cite. This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access. Balter, M. University suppresses report on provenance of Iraqi antiquities. Science Google Scholar. The Sevso treasure, a private exhibition. London: Bonhams. Bottoni, A. I marmi dipinti di Ascoli Satriano. Brodie, N. Annual Review of Anthropology Illicit antiquities, the theft of culture and the extinction of archaeology.